DHA in touch with health authorities as fears of Sars-like virus mount

Digital illustration of the Sars virus.

The Dubai Health Authority has confirmed it working closely with the UAE Ministry of Health, along with the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control in monitoring the situation in wake of a new Sars-like virus that currently has affected two persons travelling to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this week, five new possible cases were isolated in Denmark, at the Odense University Hospital and Svendborg Hospital.
However, Director Jens Peter Steensen said in a statement: “Five patients were admitted to University Hospital for further observation for symptoms of infection with a new coronavirus.
“Samples from the Statens Serum Institute shows that patients were infected with influenza B, occurring as so-called seasonal flu.”

He added: “The Department of Infectious Diseases at University Hospital has received answers to tests from the Statens Serum Institut. The patients are recovering and will be discharged later.”

Steensen said the patients were kept in isolation under suspicion of infection with the new type of coronavirus, which until now were only found in patients abroad who have travelled to Saudi Arabia or Qatar.

“There are various types of corona virus, which usually results in the common cold, but in rare cases can also cause more serious infections of the respiratory tract. The new coronavirus differs from belonging to the same group as the Sars coronavirus,” he added.
Cases so far
According to the World Health Organisation, as of September 25, no additional cases of acute respiratory syndrome with renal failure due to infection with a novel coronavirus have been reported.
WHO states its continuing investigations into the two recently confirmed infections identified as a novel coronavirus, issuing an interim case definition to help countries strengthen health protection measures against the new virus.
On September 22, Britain informed WHO of a case of acute respiratory syndrome with travel history to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The case is a previously healthy, 49 year-old male Qatari national that presented with symptoms on September 3, with travel history to Saudi Arabia several days prior to onset of illness.
He was admitted to an intensive care unit in Doha a few days later and finally transferred to the UK by air ambulance.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) of the UK conducted laboratory testing and subsequently confirmed the presence of the novel coronavirus after comparing it to the sequencing of the virus isolated from the 49 year-old Qatari national to a 60-year-old Saudi national who died in Netherlands earlier this year.
WHO states that it is also working closely with Saudi Arabia to support the country’s health measures for all visitors participating in the Haj pilgrimage next month.
In an interview with Reuters, Ziad Memish, the deputy minister for public health of Saudi Arabia, said: “The Health Ministry has taken preventative measures to deal with the influx of over two million Haj pilgrims.
“The measures include monitoring the entrances through land, sea and air to evaluate the people entering and obtain samples if any symptoms are apparent.
“There is also continuous monitoring in the holy places in Makkah and Medina and Jeddah, with teams on the ground and hospitals to deal with them,” he said.

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